Kevin West’s Saving the Season

I’m thinking of throwing out all my picking and preserving books. Why? Kevin West’s new book Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving blows all those other books out of the water bath. Full disclosure here: I’ve tasted a lot of West’s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session and I stick around t...

Continue reading…

Fish Don’t Fart

...ido California and has been working on his aquaponics system for over 37 years. The tag line “Fish Don’t Fart” refers to the benefits of fish over methane generating cattle. We skipped over aquaponics in our book since we considered it too expensive and complicated for most people. But perhaps we should give it closer consideration. Aquaponics is profiled in the pioneering urban homesteading book, The Integral Urban House: Self...

Continue reading…

Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not too Much

In the course of writing and researching our book, The Urban Homestead, coming out this June, we learned a lot about contemporary agricultural practices. And what we learned sure ain’t pretty. It has made our trips to the supermarket, to supplement the food we grow at home, a series of moral dilemmas. Where did this food come from? How was it grown or raised? What are these mysterious ingredients? Our book contains practical how-to advice...

Continue reading…

Shoemaking Advice?

...o fit store bought shoes anymore. Don’t get excited, shoe questioners: I’ve got nothing for you. I’m asking for help. Have any of you made your own shoes? I’m looking for good resources on shoe making: books, videos, etc.  I’d also love to hear stories of successes or failures or lessons learned. I’d like to make leather, soft-soled shoes as first project perhaps moccasins, perhaps something more structured. I...

Continue reading…

Appropriate Tech is the New High Tech

...pread the word about this resource. He also suggests starting your own library of appropriate technology classics. Both are great ideas. Our blog, in fact, was largely inspired by just this type of literature in the form of a book by Sim Van der Ryn The Integral Urban House: Self Reliant Living in the City as well as other books such as Lloyd Kahn’s Shelter. Keeping with Greer’s idea of building an appropriate tech library we’l...

Continue reading…

Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

...me our brooms come from China now–and most broom corn you buy probably comes from Mexico. It was also not uncommon for folks with a bit of land to grow a stand of broom corn to keep them in brooms. Again, from the 1908 book: …it is often cheaper to raise a patch of broom corn and have the boys make it up on rainy days, than to buy the brooms ready made. While home-made brooms may not be as handsome as the “boughten” ones,...

Continue reading…

How to Plan a Vegetable Garden

...sing only those veggies that have done well in the past and that we like to eat. A planning form from Ecology Action Deciding How Much to Plant To decide how much to plant I rely on the charts in John Jeavons’ book  How to Grow More Vegetables . I took his three day Biointensive gardening class early last year and recommend it highly, especially for learning how to use the, at first, intimidating charts in the book. Jeavons handed...

Continue reading…

Announcement: Process Media/Feral House Party this Thursday in Los Angeles

Thursday, December 9, 6-9  La Luz de Jesus Gallery,  4633 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.  Free.  (323) 666-7667 Attention Angelinos (and folks nearby): Our incredibly groovy publishers, Process Media, and their sister company, Feral House, are throwing a holiday party this Thursday. We’ll be there, just hanging out. If you don’t know Wacko/La Luz de Jesus, it’s a combo art gallery, book store and novelty shop. You could ge...

Continue reading…

Elderly and Barefoot–that’s how I plan to be

...r at least since our 40′s. No one may agree with me, but I for one plan to be a barefooted elder. And I’m going to start leaning on my mother about it, too. I was pleased to find my thoughstyling backed up in this book Erik bought recently. It’s called Barefoot Running , and has a special section on transitioning to barefoot for the elderly and less mobile. The author makes the same arguments that I am here, just somewhat more a...

Continue reading…

Fermenting culture wih Sandor Katz

Katz chats up Master Food Preserver and author Kevin West Last night Erik and I went to see a talk by fermentation guru Sandor Katz, hosted by the Environmental Changemakers. Being a huge Sandor Katz fangirl, I was thrilled to get a chance to see him in person. These days he’s sporting a charming 19th century mustache! His first book, Wild Fermentation, was one of those really important, life-changing books for me. It might sound...

Continue reading…